By following the provided installation guide, the whole process of upgrading your CPU cooler to the NH-C14S is theoretically quite simple. You start by identifying which CPU socket you have, in our case it is the Intel LGA 1151, installing the SecuFirm2™ backplate and securing the mounting brackets, rather simple to this point.
All of the different parts for the mounting kit are identified in the instruction guide with detailed illustrations and unique names, which make the process even easier as it eliminates the possibility of confusing components.
Our next step is to then apply the thermal paste. We don’t go into details on how to do that, as there’s clearly no absolute incorrect way to do it. As we have said before, unless you’re putting it on your toast instead of the CPU, that’s obviously the wrong way to do it.
We’ll then place the heatsink itself without the fans installed on top of the threaded posts on the Mounting Bars, and then carefully tighten the spring-loaded screws onto the posts. You’ll want to tighten the screws until they stop, and not force it to go any further as applying too much pressure to your CPU can result in serious damage.
This is where we ran into some troubles. As you can see Noctua has ingeniously left two small square openings in the aluminum fins to allow for you to fit the supplied phillips screwdriver through the heatsink and screw down the spring-loaded screws. Here is where there is a design mishap. If you look very carefully, you will see that the top opening is blocked almost completely by the structure of the NF-A14 PWM fan. This was a huge dilemma and it didn’t matter which way you rotated or mounted the fan, a structure support was always blocking this opening.
To solve this dilemma, we were required to use force and this was to our complete displeasure. With the earlier on rumours of third party CPU coolers bending Skylake CPU’s, our pulse was racing during this installation, but once screwed down, we were ok to continue.
Once the heatsink is secured, our additional NF-A14 fan was added using the included clips by pressing the fan up against the heatsink and pulling the clips over the slotted sections on the heatsink. Carefully route and connect the fans power cable into a 4-pin PWM CPU fan header on your motherboard and we are ready for testing!